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Maryland basketball’s win over Illinois was absolutely ridiculous

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This is the Maryland Minute, a short story followed by a roundup of Terps-related news.

Photo uploaded by Ben Broman / Illustration by Jared Goldstein

Maryland basketball played an all-around wild, crazy and ugly basketball game Sunday night against Illinois. The Terps ultimately left Champaign with a win, but it didn’t always look like that would be the case.

When Kevin Huerter made a layup with 17:27 left, Maryland had a commanding 22-point lead and a 99.1 percent chance of winning. Then things took a turn for the worse. The Terps blew their biggest lead since that fateful Final Four game in 2001, but this time, they were able to send the contest to overtime.

Illinois climbed all the way back, and with four seconds left, led 75-73. All the Illini had to was inbound the ball and hit two free throws to seal the game; they had a 92.8 percent chance of winning. Instead, Da’Monte Williams airmailed a long pass that went untouched and sailed out of bounds. So now Maryland had the opportunity to win or tie. Here’s what happened:

The overtime period saw 33 combined points and was about as back-and-forth as realistically possible. Down one, Huerter hit a corner three to put the Terps up two, but Mark Alstork, who had 17 points, hit a game-tying layup on the other end with 17 seconds left. It was a great, clutch basket, but then he threw it all away on defense, fouling Anthony Cowan while he was shooting with less than a second left. The sophomore calmly hit the first of two free throws and purposely missed the second since there wasn’t enough time to get a good, full-court shot off.

Can we make sense of this? No, not really, but here’s an attempt.

Maryland needs to turn the ball over less and continue to move the ball well on offense. Twenty-five turnovers is beyond way too many. When they move, the Terps have shown they’re capable of opening a 22-point lead on a conference opponent on the road. But when they play “run the shot clock down to 11 and drive (and sometimes kick it out)” offense, things tend to go poorly. Whether that’s on the players’ execution or Mark Turgeon’s coaching or both (it’s a combination of both) is up for debate.

In the end though, a win is a win, and Maryland avoided starting 0-2 in Big Ten play. So while there’s plenty to learn from this roller coaster of a game, breathe first and enjoy the win.

Here are some graphics to help pass the time:

Maryland was like, definitely going to win. And then they weren’t. And then they did.
ESPN
Listen ... somebody had to win.
ESPN

In other news

For a more thorough recap of the entirety of last night’s game, click these words.

DJ Durkin had an in-home visit with Maryland’s three-star kicker commit Joseph Petrino Sunday night. The first of two signing periods begins on Dec. 20, and we’ll have more on that soon. For now, there’s a lot of cool information and discussion in this Fanpost. (And a newer version of it here.)

Now-former Maryland volleyball libero Kelsey Wicinski announced Sunday night that she’s transferring to Florida State. (Her Instagram is private, so you may request to follow her if you’d like to see the accompanying picture, but here are her parting words.)

I am so excited to announce that I will be finishing my academic and volleyball career at Florida State University!!! I am so thankful for this amazing opportunity and I'm looking forward to this next chapter in my life! #GoNoles

Maryland wrestling dropped a dual match to Northwestern on Saturday.

The women’s basketball team had some better luck, cruising past Akron for its fifth win in a row.